Chronicles of the Design & Construction of Two Waterfront Hurricane Proof Dry Stack Modular Green Custom Homes
1. Villa Lagoon, Wilder Italian Style Home
2. Nasello Italian Style Home

Magnesium Oxide Board

a Gypsum Board Substitute for Wallboards

Nov 2007

I was doing considerable web searching for a product to use to substitute for sheetrock and any other brand of gypsum board. Building in a hurricane zone is reason enough to avoid anything that melts or mildews. Amazingly the trade magazine, "Walls and Ceilings" came the next day. In it was an article on Magnesium oxide building materials being imported from Asia and it sounded like a great substitute for Sheetrock. The article, "MgO or Magnesium Oxide" by Robert Thomas, gave a lot of details and specifics. Several of the importers and distributors of Magnesium oxide boards in the USA had purchased ads in that issue.

In the article, Thomas says:

"Magnesium oxide board 'MgO board' is a factory-made, non-insulating sheathing board product. It can be used for a number of applications including wall and ceiling linings, fascias, soffits, tile backing and underlayments. It is made of magnesium oxide, a type of mineral cement, and is commonly called simply 'MgO' (pronounced emm-gee-oh) due to its chemical composition of magnesium (chemical symbol Mg) and oxygen (chemical symbol O). Think of MgO as a type of sheathing board–sort of like drywall or cement board–but with much-improved characteristics such as fire resistance, weatherability, strength, resistance to mold and mildew, and so on."
"MgO is available in many forms, and for building construction comes in various thicknesses and sheet sizes. It also comes in various grades, such as smooth finishes, rough textures, and utility grades. It is white, beige or light gray in color, and has a “hard” sound when rapped with your knuckles–somewhat like portland cement board. There are dozens of companies that make MgO board, most of which are in Asia. There are several large producers, but most are small local manufacturers who serve a region."
"Not much MgO is used in North America so far, but no doubt will become much more widely used in the future."
"The use of MgO goes back many centuries, almost to the Pyramids. It was originally used to make mortars for masonry construction. Nowadays, in many countries, MgO is often used for mortars. In North America, portland cement is used most of the time."
"MgO boards are harder than drywall, and are somewhat like the portland cement board used in bathtub enclosures. MgO is ‘worked’ in a manner like a combination of drywall and cement boards. It can be scored and snapped, although it is stronger than drywall and requires a bit more effort. It can be cut with a power saw, drilled-through and fastened like other similar boards."
"Like any sheathing board, MgO board can absorb water but its performance is unaffected. Thus it can be used indoors and outdoors, and in damp locations, such as showers. Like portland cement based sidings, if MgO is used outdoors in an exposed location, it needs some form of coating, such as paint. MgO can be used structurally–as in bracing for walls–and also semi-structurally, such as an underlayment for flooring."

Now after having purchased, stored, and installed Magnesium oxide wall boards, I can truly say that it is a great product. I decided to go with Magnum Board. Dealing with them was a really nice experience. My guess is that North America will embrace MgO as a building material in the near future. The benefits are great and other than it being an imported product, there does not seem to be a down-side to it. People living in coastal regions, in the areas recently hit by might hurricanes, would do well to investigate MgO boards and consider using it for their interiors in ceilings, walls, floor underlayment, and exteriors as siding, window trim, soffits, etc. The benefits are many over wood and gypsum products.

Here are some of the things about Mgo that I discovered:

All 101 stories of Taipei 101, currently the tallest building in the world, use their exact brand of MgO sheeting on the inside and outside of all the walls, fireproofing beams and as the subfloor sheathing.

Most people do not know that MgO based mortar and soil brick stabilizer, is used extensively on The Great Wall of China, and in many places, has outperformed, and even outlived some of the stone. The Great White Mountains in China that The Great Wall follows, are said to contain enough MgO to replace all of the drywall and plywood on the planet, at the current consumption rate, for 800 years. (This according to Substance Products in Austin, TX.)

MgO Sheeting is the “official” specified construction material of the 2008 World Olympics buildings in Beijing... a project costing over 160 billion dollars.

Over 8 million square feet of MgO Sheeting is installed in Asia.

It is now estimated that over 2,000 companies are manufacturing MgO Sheeting worldwide.

Since natural deposits of magnesium oxide occur only in Asia and local governments prohibit the exportation of the raw materials, expect your finished MgO goods to come from or near China.

US Distributors

I have identified four distributors for magnesium oxide boards in the States.  I share this information for those new to this material and seeking information. 

Our choice for Villa Lagoon: Magnum™ Board (Magnesium Oxide Board or MgO Board) is a technologically advanced building material that offers superior performance in every category when compared to traditional wood, gypsum and cement based products. Magnum™ Board is virtually impervious to fire, water, insects; does not feed mold or mildew; is non-toxic, non- flammable and non-combustible; is durable, maintains it’s dimensional stability – even when wet; and, has exceptional bonding surface. Magnum™ Board is a mineral based green builder product. And it is homogenous – no de-lamination. I have spoken to Dan Armstrong several times and he has been really informative. Call Magnum Building Products if you have questions. 2008 Note: Dan came to our project and has been exceedingly helpful. We think his product is great. www.magnumbp.com

See our photos & journal of Magnum Board delivery and Magnum Board installation on our Villa Lagoon construction project. We purchased a 20 ft container of MgO boards for our job.

Here are some of the other suppliers to the USA:

Substance Products - This supplier of building materials in Austin, TX has an informative website. There is a video about the benefits of Magnesium Oxide as a building material. www.substanceproducts.com

Dragonboard--You can use Dragonboard wherever a UL rated fireproof, waterproof, mold free, fungus free, high impact surface is called for. Dragonboard cuts, handles and finishes like drywall. www.dragonboard.com

MagBoard™ is water-resistant. In addition, it shows no structural change after 25 cycles of freeze-thaw. Bending strength of MagBoard™ remains unaltered when wet. MagBoard™ has been tested for fire-resistant properties under ASTM E-119-00a. MagBoard™ passes the “Hose Stream Test” for the 1 hour fire rating. Insects such as termites and carpenter ants are unable to survive in or on MagBoard™. MagBoard™ is sold in 4x8, 4x9 and 4x10 sheets and can be used virtually anywhere construction panels are needed. www.mag-board.com

Overseas Sources

Some direct overseas sources for MgO building materials. Since natural deposits of magnesium oxide occur only in Asia, do not be surprised that all these suppliers are located in or near China.  Only contact these companies if you want to buy full containers of MgO boards and sheets.

Shi Jia Zhuang Bei Hua Mineral Wool Board Co., Ltd. is a large-scale manufacturer group in China. The complete line includes mineral fiber acoustic ceiling boards, T-grids, gypsum boards, magnesium oxide boards, calcium silicate boards and kinds of wire meshes. Also the factory can supply mineral fiber board production line, gypsum board production line, T-grids machine, magnesium oxide board plant. Shi Jia Zhuang Bei Hua Mineral Wool Board Co. products have been exported to many foreign countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, South-East Asia, Europe, USA, India and Mid-Asia. http://www.bei-hua.com/en/index.htm

Strong Enviroboard - Strong-Enviro Board is a multi-use fire resistant and mold/mildew resistant wall board. Strong-Enviro Board is manufactured in China by S.E.B. BETA BUILDING MATERIALS CO., LTD. Strong-Enviro Board manufacturing began in 1997 and is currently produced on 4 production lines with annual output of over 30,000,000 square feet. Strong-Enviro Board is exported to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Korea, Japan, Europe and North America. Strong-Enviro Board is recognized and used widely in residential, commercial, and industrial applications including airports, hospitals, schools, hotels, condominiums, tunnels, watercrafts, factories, and warehouses. Some company’s that have used Strong-Enviro Board include, ASUS Computers, INCENTEC, ASE GROUP, 3M and Taipei 101 (the tallest building in the world). www.strongenviroboard.com

Xiamen Sunrising New Type Building Materials Co.,Ltd - manufacturer of magnesia board, suspended ceiling, fireproof magnesia board, 5F, No 458 Xianyue Road Post Building, Siming district, Xiamen, Fujian, China 361012, leading manufacturer of fireproof magnesia boards used for partition, suspended ceiling, roof, door, office tableboard etc. Normal size is 1220x 2440mm with thickness from 3mm to 20mm. www.xtjc.cn

Tianjin FuErJia FireProof Material Co - professional magnesium oxide board, manufacturer in China. Producing magnesium oxide board, according to your requirements. Magnesium oxide board is combined system of MgO, MgC12 and H2O alkali agent. Magnesium Oxide Board (glass fiber & magnesium cement. The stable magnesium colloid is reinforced by middle alkali glass fiber net and stuffed by light material then becomes new frameless decorative material. It has the features of light quality, strong intensity, little contraction, easy constructing. Especially the unique waterproof, fireproof, corrosion proof and plasticity are better than normally used wooden multisplint, paper surface plaster board etc. The Tianjin Co. can provide you magnesium oxide board with high quality, large quantity, reasonable prices. http://tjfuerjia.cn.alibaba.com

Shandong Huiyuan Building Material Group Co., Ltd. - one of the biggest specialized building materials manufacturing enterprises in Shandong Province, employing over 1000 people. This company operates with a comprehensive products range and strong producing capacity; 1 million m², Mg-fiberglass fireproof decoration board and light wall board over 4 million m². http://www.huiyuanchem.com.cn/

Dezhou Lingmei Industry & Trade Co., Ltd. was founded in 2003 and their business is producing building materials. Fireproof board of magnesium oxide has many advantages, such as waterproof, fireproof, soundproof, heat preservation, nonpoisonous and tasteless material which never becomes moldy and rotten . It can be used in wide fields by sawing or nailing. It is easy to install. http://www.dzlmgm.com//english/gsjj_about.htm

Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties, LLC - Leading Supplier of Magnesium Oxide and Magnesium Hydroxide Products. They have provided a very comprehensive info page on this product. http://www.magspecialties.com/students.htm

Zhoushan Baiquan New Building Materials Co., Ltd. - Was establish in 1998, located in the  Zhoushan Islands, which is nearby to Shanghai and Ningbo cities, separated from the mainland China by a narrow body of water. The company produces "EAGLEBOARD" brand Magnesium Oxide fireproof board, which has the characteristics of fire-resistance, water proof, sound and heat insulation. The most distinct nature of the board is fire-resistance. Its combustion capability and maximum fire-resistance rate have been tested and identified by China National Center for Quality Supervision and Test of Fixed-extinguishing Systems and fire-resisting building components. Those tests have been proceeded according to the German Standard DIN4102-81 and ISO/FDIS 834-1:1997 (E) respectively. Comparing with the similar products, Eagleboard has more advantages, like insects-resistance, light weight but strong as well as may application conveniences, for this product is easy to cut, saw, nail, stick, paint etc. Eagleboard, which has functions of fire prevention, watertightness, antisepticise etc., achieved the GB8624A standard, the CNS18164 non-combustible class one standard and JIS5430non-combustible standard. Eagleboard is the A grade not-burning material. Eagleboard still keeps intact after being soaked in water for one month, swelling and losing shape will not happen. Out-of-shape rate in the condition of wet or dry is 0.26%, and absorb water rate is about 15%. Sound insulation--95mm insulates equivalent to four 12mm gypsum boards and 123mm wall 's sound insulation standard, equivalent to 150mm ordinary solid sound insulation result of brick wall. Eagleboard's thermal resistance is 1.14(m²K)/W - Keep warm and insulate heat. www.eagleboard.net

Hebei Shijiazhuang in China--Mgo Centre Air-Condition Pipeline Board - Sound insulation, heat insulation, waterproof, fireproof, high strength and impact resistant, mold-proof, Sanitation and cleanness, etc. MgO,MCL2 and other materials. Manufactured in 1220mmx2440mm , Thickness: 20mm 30mm 50mm. Other specifications also available according to customer's request. This product can be used as tube of air conditioning ductwork in hospitals, factories, hotels, etc. http://hbtongda.en.ecplaza.net

Huzhou Shenda Enterprise Co., Ltd. - located in Zhejiang in China-Exporting magnesium oxide products  for ten years to Japan, Russia, The Philippines, Taiwan, etc. Manufacturers a light board. Its density is less than 1.0g/cm³,At the same time, its bending strength and impact resistance is excellent. Dry bending strength is of the magnesium oxide board is15 Mpa. Bending strength under absorbed moisture is 22 Mpa.

Xiamen Yerysun Building Material Co.,Ltd--Manufacturer of magnesium oxide board,100% asbestos free, non-combustible: GB8624, CLASS A, moisture resistant, excellent impact resistant, excellent sound insulation reach 50Db, high dimensional stability,  Located in Fujian in China, this company can deliver in 10 days. Thickness: 3 - 20mmMax. width: 1, 220mm Max. length: 2440mm Max

Suzhou Chun-Bo New Construction Material - Magnesium oxide board is made from magnesium oxide, with high-strength, coated four times, and processed in high temperature. It is non-flammable, waterproof, environment-friendly. This company is located in Jiangsu in China but the magnesium non-flammable board is from Koreaian facilities. Magnesium oxide boards can not only endure acid and alkali, but also drive moths away (or so they say !) It cannot erode, nor can it change its shape. The mildew-proof coating, processed in high temperature, makes it clean and smooth. Manufacturers of Magnesium oxide board for wall building.

Green House Development Co.,Ltd. - Located in Guangdong Fushan, China. The Magnesium sandwich board is finish machining from Magnesium ply plates. This product formaldehyde release quantity is very low. Tasteless, non-toxic, does not have the radioactive rays (thank goodness:o), does not contain  formaldehyde, benzene, to the human body is harmless. Magnesium oxide can achieve the national GB8624-1997A level incombustibility standard, the being flame-resistant limit is larger than 4 hours. Steam does not distort, or change the product. The construction load is small, general partition wall 5kg/m², firewall (40 kg/m²) Anti-impact, difficult to break off, the bending strength are high, has good toughness and rigidity. Easy to install: May be sawn, drilled, etc. Cannot be destroyed by insects, resistant to compression, acid resistance. Has good heat insulation performance and is a great substitute for Sheetrock in moist or hurricane prone locales.

Tubes China Co.,Ltd --Janezhang--Jiangsu Zhangjiagang in China--manufacturers of MgO board that is flame proof: Resistant to combustion at 800 degree and remains flameless at 1, 200 degree. Has a non-flammability rating: GB8624 grade A.. Is waterproof and resistant to deformation in wet environments. Light weight, (volume weight: 0.9- 1.1g/cm³). Bendable and impact resistant. Resistant to deformation in wet, hot and dry conditions. Also resistant to halogen accumulation, long lasting strength. Magnesium oxide sheets are easy to cut, saw, nail, stick, paint and veneer. The product is free of asbestos, formaldehyde and ammonia .Main usage: MgO is used in normal room ceiling and partitions, especially suitable for hotel, office building, business building, bank, shopping malls, hotels, entertainment facility, restaurant, factory, cinema, train or bus terminals, factory warehouse. hospitals, theaters, airports, school buildings, sport facilities, engine-rooms etc

Cixi Ordi Decorative Materials Co.,Ltd. --Mikimiki--Zhejiang Ningbo, China--Magnesium Oxide Board. Fireproof board (magnesium oxide board) has many advantages, such as waterproof, fireproof, soundproof, heat preservation, nonpoisonous and tasteless material which never becomes moldy and rotten. It can be used in wide fields by sawing or nailing. It is easy to install. No special tools are needed. Std. material is 1220X2440(mm) with a thickness: 3-12(mm) Note: Other sizes can be booked according to customer's requests. Fireproof board have been used primarily as fireproof materials for walls and ceilings in office buildings, apartment complexes, residential constructions, hotels, theatres, restaurants, railway stations, airports, scientific research institutions, schools, hospitals, and stadiums. Some patterned products have been used as decorative boards.

Qingdao Fullget Import & Export.Co.,Ltd. - Suppliers of magnesium oxide board. Qingdao fullget imp & exp Co., Ltd in one of the leading building materials dealer from Qingdao China. They offer  new type ceiling and drywall materials, magnesia board, light steel keels and ceiling boards.

ShangHai Goods Relation Trade Co., Ltd. - Magnesium oxide board is combined system of MgO, MgCL2 and H2O alkali agent. The stable magnesium colloid is reinforced by middle alkali glass fiber net and stuffed by light material then becomes new frameless decorative material. They are better than normally used wooden multisplint, paper surface plaster board, mineral fiber board, gypsum board etc. There is no asbestos content in magnesium oxide board so it's an environmentally safe choice for replacement situations. MgO boards are extensively used in residential, institutional, commercial and industrial buildings.

Dezhou Lingmei Industry & Trade Co., Ltd. - Located in Shandong Dezhou, China. Standard sizes of Magnesium oxide boards are 900X1800, 900X2400, 1220X2440, 1200X1800(mm) etc. and thicknesses up to 40 mm but customers can request special sizing.

SunWa International Co., Ltd. - Manufacturers and exporters of Magnesium fireproof board for use as partitions and ceilings, office buildings, hotels, markets, hospitals, airports, subways, gymnasiums, librarys, museums, theaters, and factories. It is also used as the backing-lining, fireproof door and other wallboard, outdoor bill-board; base plate of various kinds of plaques; outside board of the ventilation shafts; roof decking, electric wire and cable wraps. Located in Fujian Xiamen, China.

Zhangjiagang Shenggang Bomei Anti-firing Manufacturing Plant, a ISO9001-2000 registered company, is a professional manufacturer of anti-firing plate. With advanced equipment, top-of-the-line... Manufacturer of magnesia fireproof ceiling boards. products are exported to Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Europe and America.

ShanDong JinGuang FRP Co.,Ltd--MeiJia Board Meijia Board is a kind of Magnesium oxide board which uses magnesia material as its main material, and uses alkali-resistant Fiberglass mesh as as strengthening material takes light material as its filler,which compounded with the above three kinds of materials under the non water-in process, It is a kind of new green and environmental protection board with fireproof and very moisture resistant building material.

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